New name, new uniforms, new rebrand, new quarterback, and a new season all started today at FedEx Field. The Washington Commanders lost the game to the Carolina Panthers 23-21, but the score as usual is meaningless in the preseason. The preseason is all about evaluating players in live action and the team gained valuable film. As usual there were some good things and some bad things. Here is what stood out to me.
- Brian Robinson Jr.- Those who have been Crimson Tide fans, or even to training camp, Brian Robinson has been on your radar. Robinson is truly the total package showing power, cutting ability, and catching the ball. His size and strength were regularly on display and then the team pulled him out. I think he is on Antonio Gibson’s heels.
- Sam Howell- The 5th round draft pick put on a show in his NFL debut. Howell routinely used his legs to keep drives going and showed some impressive throws. Howell was by no means perfect and still has a ways to go, however there is a talent there. Keeping things in perspective Howell did this against the 3rd string of the Carolina Panthers. Hopefully Howell can get some reps with the 2nd string.
- The All Whites- The first of the uniform reveals were today and the team choose to wear their all white combination. Coach Rivera has been a fan of the all white look so I knew the team would have that combination. The helmets are still the best feature of the uniform, the all whites give a clean and modern look. Most fans felt that way as well.
- Antonio Gibson Fumbles- The biggest detriment to Antonio Gibson is his propensity to fumble the football. Only to add to that is Gibson usually fumbles in really bad spots on the field. Right after the defense just held for a field goal to give the offense and Gibson fumbles the ball right back to the Panthers. Gibson has a ton of talent but he will be spending more time on the sideline than on the field if this continues.
- Finishing Defensive Drives- Coach Rivera mentioned he was upset that second and longs turned into 3rd and mediums which the Panthers were able to convert. The starters and the backups both had this issue. The Panthers had 5 drives of 10 plays or longer which all but one ended with points. The defense has to be able to get off the field on 3rd downs. Plain and simple.
- Team Mascot?- During the game the team asked the fans to vote on a mascot for the team. While I get the rebrand and like some of the things they have done, this is not one of them. The team should make smaller more successful steps than trying to create this overall change.
- Turnovers- Even though the final score doesn’t matter in the preseason, what causes losses does. Washington lost the turnover 2-0. That is a recipe for losing football. Both sides play a role in that. Of course the offense must hold on to the football. The defense must create some turnovers to give the offense a shorter a field. That has to be a goal moving forward.
- Carson Looked Fine- Carson made some plays and was in overall control of the game. The preseason will be the place for for some deep down the roster lol
- The new Fight Song0- The feed back that sent out was an introduction to the the revamped fight song. As a former member of the band, this looked rushed and done quickly. There was a definitely a missed call in there. And something to the fire that must be rooted our.